Public debate about decriminalisation of drugs in the Czech Republic
The SANANIM NGO has a vision for public debates, and has been arranging them for a little while now – since last year, in fact. Our goal in setting up a debate is simple: to increase public awareness of drug-related issues such as harm reduction, (in)effective drug policies, etc. Public relations is a complex field and we in SANANIM are good at working directly with our clients, but perhaps less good at talking about PR. So we are learning how to promote drug-related topics on a public stage. For many years (because of the efforts of our predecessors in the field of addictology, who prepared so much of the ground for us) we didn't realise that our work was something which needed regular promotion … The ground they gained is being slowly lost again, in the present-day world, but that’s probably a subject for another day.
On 1st June 2016, we organised our latest debate on the possibilities and limits of legalisation, decriminalisation, control, regulation, liberalisation, and so on, of drugs and drug policies in our country, following on from the global debate at this year's UNGASS. The event took place in our Café Therapy venue, which is a multi-purpose facility - social club, restaurant, and café - where we work mainly with our Aftercare service clients.
The debaters on this occasion were:
- Petr Třešňák – deputy editor of RESPEKT magazine, and moderator of all our debates.
- Paediatric Doctor Martina Richterová Těmínová – director of the SANANIM NGO, the largest addictology NGO in the Czech Republic; she has decades of experience in the field of addictology, as a psychotherapist, supervisor, and mentor of people suffering from addiction. http://sananim.cz/
- Mgr. Jindřich Vobořil, PgDip. – National Anti-Drug Coordinator. He is also the director of the secretariat of the Goverment Council for Anti-Drug Policy Coordination. He previously worked for many years with clients in the NGO field. http://www.vlada.cz/cz/ppov/protidrogova-politika/protidrogova-politika-72746/
- Mgr. Jan Vobořil, PhD. – lawyer, executive director of the Iuridicum Remedium NGO (watchdog, advocacy, assistance) protecting human rights. He is also active in a Legal Advice Agency for drug users. http://www.iure.org/ and http://poradna.asociace.org/
- Michal Ketner – a member of the Czech Pirate Party – the only Czech political party that incorporates and promotes an integrated drug policy in their manifesto. The party is very liberal in its views on drug policy issues.
- MUDr. Pavel Bém – former mayor of Prague, and a psychiatrist, working in addictology for decades. Commissioner on the Global Commission on Drug Policy. http://www.globalcommissionondrugs.org/
- Mgr. Dušan Dvořák – an unusual personality, one of the key promoters of cannabis legalisation in the Czech Republic, co-ordinator of the “Cannabis is cure” research, and a founder of the Cannabis Church. http://www.konopijelek.cz/ and http://www.konopnacirkev.cz/
- And others …
Please take a look at the video, to get a feel for current views and trends about this topic in the Czech Republic (subtitles are available).